Why Article 370 Abrogation Continues to Irk Pakistan
Despite its claim to the contrary, it’s apparent that Islamabad’s unending repertoire of allegations that people in Kashmir being denied their fundamental rights and being brutalised has failed to fool the international community. And with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari himself admitting that “Islamabad faces an uphill task to get the Kashmir issue into the centre of the agenda of the United Nations,” it’s clear that even Islamabad is well aware that its diplomatic offensive on Kashmir has been a monumental failure.
Furthermore, with the fourth anniversary of Article 370 abrogation passing off without any major untoward incident, it’s clear that Islamabad’s attempts to incite violence in Kashmir by provocatively referring to August 5 [the day Article 370 was repealed] as ‘Youm-e-Istehsal’ [Day of Exploitation] have failed. Similarly, its desperate endeavour to internationalise this issue through a briefing of foreign diplomats in Islamabad by the Pakistani Foreign Secretary [expectedly] failed to evoke any favourable response.
In its ‘Youm-e-Istehsal’ press release, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentioned that during his briefing to “Islamabad based diplomatic missions” the Foreign Secretary had “highlighted the legal, security and human rights dimensions of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.” It also stated “special events to raise global awareness about the Indian oppression” in J&K were being organised by Pakistan’s diplomatic missions around the world.
That Islamabad’s much hyped worldwide campaign to resurrect the Kashmir issue by attacking New Delhi’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Indian constitution would end in a damp squib, was a foregone conclusion. This is primarily because like always, Islamabad based its anti-India tirade on patently concocted tales and not facts, and probably that’s the reason why New Delhi didn’t even bother to take any diplomatic actions to counter Islamabad’s Kashmir ‘offensive’.
Since Islamabad’s efforts to hard sell its false Kashmir narrative has once again found no takers, it’s abundantly clear that Pakistan’s self-professed “principled stand” on Kashmir as well its allegation of India being in “illegal occupation” of J&K is mere bombast. And Pakistan’s Foreign Minister should realise that this is the very reason why Pakistan has failed to “get the Kashmir issue into the centre of the agenda of the United Nations.”
Pakistan has been playing a double game in Kashmir for far too long and its people have become more discerning today and have become more aware of Islamabad’s perfidy. Kashmiri youth today want to know that if Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir is indeed “principled” and India is really in “illegal occupation” of J&K, then why the UN and international community isn’t intervening?
They also want to know that when the UN has clearly ruled that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan that requires being mutually resolved sans any third party involvement, why is Pakistan fooling everyone by repeatedly demanding UN intervention on this issue?
The fact of the matter is that Islamabad has been exploiting the gullibility of Kashmiris all along and spreading falsehood through their proxies. Islamabad needs to tell the people of Kashmir that in case the instrument of accession signed by the Maharaja of J&K in favour of India was ‘illegal’, then why instead of launching a covert military campaign codenamed ‘Operation Gulmarg’ in the garb of a ‘tribal invasion’, why didn’t Pakistan take this issue to the International Court of Justice?
Pakistan’s attempt to surreptitiously seize J&K by force in 1947 is a clear indication that it knows very well that its Kashmir narrative is completely lacking in substance and hence would fail to yield any positive results. And the fact that the Pakistan army again made a similar unsuccessful attempt in 1965 [Operation Gibraltar] endorses the fact that Pakistan is well aware that its claim over J&K lacks legitimacy.
New Delhi’s decision of abrogating Article 370 sounded the death knell of Pakistan’s sterile Kashmir narrative. By mentioning factual details of Pakistan’s deceit due to which the UN charter on J&K was rendered redundant in its post-Article 370 abrogation press release of August 6, 2019, India’s Press Information Bureau [PIB] has made things even more embarrassing for Islamabad.
The PIB press release ibid states that “Speaking on the applicability of United Nations charter on India and Pakistan to J&K, Shri [Amit] Shah [India’s Home Minister] said that under this [UN] charter, neither [of the] armed forces would violate the territorial integrity of [the] other country. [However], the day in 1965 Pakistan violated this provision [by launching Operation Gibraltar], the charter was violated. The question of a referendum ended with the Pakistani aggression. Hence, the Government of India has full rights to take any decision regarding its territorial integrity [Emphasis added].
The people of Kashmir are gradually realising that Pakistan is using them as cannon fodder in its proxy war against India, and this has been accepted by both Pakistan’s former army chief General Pervez Musharraf as well United Jihad Council [UJC] chief Syed Salahuddin. [UJC is an amalgam of 13 terrorist groups fighting in Kashmir created by Pakistan army’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] to coordinate its ongoing proxy war against India].
Gen Musharraf’s disclosure that “Kashmiris who came to Pakistan received hero reception here” and that “We used to train them and support them [and] we considered them as mujahideen who will fight with the Indian Army” [Emphasis added], leaves no room for doubt that Kashmiri youth were indoctrinated by Rawalpindi to fight the Indian army and not for achieving ‘azadi’ [freedom] in J&K as claimed.
By admitting that “we are fighting Pakistan’s war in Kashmir,” [Emphasis added], the UJC chief too has clearly accepted that the role of the so called ‘mujahideen’ fighting in Kashmir is solely to further the Pakistan army’s proxy war and has nothing to do with the so called ‘armed struggle’. Moreover, the very fact that while Salahuddin and the likes of him encourage young boys to pick up guns they ensure that his own sons don’t do so, says it all!
The Pakistan army has failed to seize Kashmir by force twice and its attempt to alter the Line of Control [LoC] alignment in the Kargil Sector of J&K in 1999 ended in a massive fiasco that saw Rawalpindi shamefully disowning its own dead soldiers by refusing to accept their mortal remains. Pakistan’s diplomatic corps has fared no better and failed to garner international support for its uninspiring Kashmir narrative
By abrogating Article 370 on August 5, 2019, New Delhi has dealt the coup de grâce to Pakistan’s Kashmir story and besides Islamabad this decision also pulled the carpet right from under Rawalpindi’s feet. In a desperate bid to salvage the situation, the then Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa went as far as admitting Rawalpindi’s role in orchestrating terrorism in J&K by saying, “Pakistan Army firmly stands by the Kashmiris in their just struggle to the very end [and] we are prepared and shall go to any extent to fulfil our obligations…” [Emphasis added].
So, while terrorism and public protests by the pro-Pakistan lobby in Kashmir may not have ended completely, they definitely have shown a significant decline, and hence it is but natural that August 5 will continue to haunt both Islamabad and Rawalpindi for times to come!